Friday, September 25, 2015

World War Z

by Max Brooks
Narrated by: Max Brooks, Alan Alda, Mark Hamill, Henry Rollins, Eamonn Walker, Ajay Naidu, Jay o. Sanders, Dennis Boutsikaris, Becky Ann Baker, Steve Park, Frank Kamai, John McElroy, John Turturro, Rob Reiner, Carl Reiner, J├╝rgen Prochnow, Waleed Zuiater, Dean Edwards, Michelle Kholos, Maz Jobrani

Summary from GoodReads

“The end was near.” —Voices from the Zombie War

The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.

Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War. 

Most of all, the book captures with haunting immediacy the human dimension of this epochal event. Facing the often raw and vivid nature of these personal accounts requires a degree of courage on the part of the reader, but the effort is invaluable because, as Mr. Brookssays in his introduction, “By excluding the human factor, aren’t we risking the kind of personal detachment from history that may, heaven forbid, lead us one day to repeat it? And in the end, isn’t the human factor the only true difference between us and the enemy we now refer to as ‘the living dead’?”

Note: Some of the numerical and factual material contained in this edition was previously published under the auspices of the United Nations Postwar Commission.
Eyewitness reports from the first truly global war

“I found ‘Patient Zero’ behind the locked door of an abandoned apartment across town. . . . His wrists and feet were bound with plastic packing twine. Although he’d rubbed off the skin around his bonds, there was no blood. There was also no blood on his other wounds. . . . He was writhing like an animal; a gag muffled his growls. At first the villagers tried to hold me back. They warned me not to touch him, that he was ‘cursed.’ I shrugged them off and reached for my mask and gloves. The boy’s skin was . . . cold and gray . . . I could find neither his heartbeat nor his pulse.” —Dr. Kwang Jingshu, Greater Chongqing, United Federation of China

“‘Shock and Awe’? Perfect name. . . . But what if the enemy can’t be shocked and awed? Not just won’t, but biologically can’t! That’s what happened that day outside New York City, that’s the failure that almost lost us the whole damn war. The fact that we couldn’t shock and awe Zack boomeranged right back in our faces and actually allowed Zack to shock and awe us! They’re not afraid! No matter what we do, no matter how many we kill, they will never, ever be afraid!” —Todd Wainio, former U.S. Army infantryman and veteran of the Battle of Yonkers

“Two hundred million zombies. Who can even visualize that type of number, let alone combat it? . . . For the first time in history, we faced an enemy that was actively waging total war. They had no limits of endurance. They would never negotiate, never surrender. They would fight until the very end because, unlike us, every single one of them, every second of every day, was devoted to consuming all life on Earth.” —General Travis

Thoughts on the Book

I read this book years ago and I loved it.  For my road trip I grabbed it, I figured of all books to listen to, this one would be the best.  It is, after all, an oral history on the zombie war.

My Review

This book is about World War Z, or the Zombie War.  It is a compilation of different stories about the war told by representatives of each aspect of the war.  

The audio book is sadly abridged, it cut out some of my favorite parts, like the K9 unit and how important dogs were to the war.  I also loved the astronauts section of the book.  But it was still amazing to listen to.  I loved hearing all the different voices telling the tales.  It made it so much more real.  And that's saying a lot because the way Max Brooks wrote this it sounds 100% plausible.  Well, plausible if zombies were actually scientifically possible.

I thought it was so cool that the narrator, the main narrator not the people giving the accounts, was actually Max Brooks.  It gave it that authentic feel.  Max really did interview these people for the United Nations Postwar Commission, the Zombie War was a real thing.

There's so much I love about this book that the audio did an amazing job capturing.  I feel like I'd just be sitting here listing each part of the book saying "this was awesome, I love how they did this"  So main points of the story I absolutely loved - Battle of Yonkers, Israeli Refugee camp (which they cut short- boo), Japanese atom bomb survivor, and the sweep of the United States - especially the battle they needed to be bulldozed out of.  And check out some of the narrators, they're fantastic! Mark Hamill, Rob Reiner, Alan Alda, Becky Ann Baker. So damn good!

I give this a 10/10.  Fantastic book, fantastic narration.  Max Brooks is as much of a genius as his father.  

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